Beavers are able to build dams using whatever materials available to them, such as, trees, woody bushes, fencing materials, bridge planking, rocks, wire, corn stalks, etc. However, beaver dams can cause flooding of crops and roads. Beaver dams can destroy irrigation canals preventing water from flowing to farmland. Beavers can undermine dams and roads built by humans. Additionally, beaver dams can kill trout by destroying free-flowing streams and rivers. Beavers have also been known to spread a disease called giardia by contaminating drinking water sources.
While beaver dams are a big nuisance to humans, ponds created by beaver dams provide ideal spawning grounds for many species of fish. Overall, the beaver has a positive effect on its ecosystem.
Like alecsanderavelez said, as far as the river ecosystem goes, beaver dams have an over all positive effects and can sometimes provide a healthy environment for trout. Because they move so much biomass into the stream, beavers actually add nutrients by building dams, which increases the population of invertebrates that trout feed on. They also provide deep waters that are cool in the summer and deep enough for trout to swim under to avoid predators. Some research also suggests that beavers can help repair failing streams and wetlands by providing stable, nutrient rich environments that promote biodiversity.
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